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​EU Court Annuls Freezing Of Mykola And Oleksii Azarov, Kliuev, Arbuzov, Stavytskyi Assets From March 2014 To March 2015

Ukrainian News Agency learned this from a Court's press release of January 28.

The General Court of the European Union annuls the freezing of the assets of former prime minister Mykola Azarov, his son Oleksii, former minister of energy and coal industry Eduard Stavytskyi, Member of Parliament Serhii Kliuev and former first vice prime minister Serhii Arbuzov for the period from March 2014 to March 2015.

Ukrainian News Agency learned this from a Court's press release of January 28.

A person cannot be treated as being responsible for misappropriation of funds solely on the ground that he is the subject of a preliminary investigation in a third country, without the Council of the EU being aware of the matters alleged against that person in that investigation.

The Council decided, on 5 March 2014, to freeze the assets and economic resources of the persons identified as responsible for the misappropriation of Ukrainian State funds.

The mentioned persons, for the period from 6 March 2014 to 5 March 2015, were included on the list of persons subject to the freezing of assets on the ground that they were the subject of preliminary investigations in Ukraine relating to offences connected with misappropriation of Ukrainian State funds and their illegal transfer outside Ukraine.

The five Ukrainians brought proceedings before the General Court with a view to having their inclusion on the list annulled.

"In today's judgments, the General Court upholds the actions brought by the five Ukrainians and annuls the freezing of assets imposed on them for the period from 6 March 2014 to 5 March 2015," the Court said.

The Court finds that the Council identified the five Ukrainians as being responsible for misappropriation of funds solely on the basis of a letter of 3 March 2014 from the office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine stating that investigations of those persons had made it possible to establish that large amounts of public funds had been misappropriated and had subsequently been unlawfully transferred out of Ukraine.

The Court takes the view that that letter provides no details concerning the matters specifically alleged against the five Ukrainians or the nature of their responsibility.

The Court concludes that the freezing of the assets of the five Ukrainians does not satisfy the designation criteria, and therefore annuls that measure for the period from 6 March 2014 to 5 March 2015.

An appeal, limited to points of law only, may be brought before the Court of Justice against the decision of the General Court within two months of notification of the decision.

As Ukrainian News Agency earlier reported, the EU in March 2014 froze assets of 18 former Ukrainian high-ranking officials.

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